Wednesday, November 20, 2019

How Growing Native Plants Helps Insects and Birds

Carolina Wild Petunia (Ruellia caroliniensis) is one native plant found in our wildlife habitat. It provides Nectar and may attract Hummingbirds, Mockingbirds, Thrashers, Orioles, Sparrows, Vireos, Waxwings, and Wood Warblers 

I went to an Audubon "Plants for Birds" program this Saturday and learned why native plants are important for birds. The presentation was given by Melissa Lammers of Halifax River Audubon at the Ormond Beach Environmental Discovery Center. The following stood out from the presentation: 

Native plants are essential for healthy insect and bird populations, buy why? Ninety percent of plant-eating insects eat only native plants with whom they co-evolved. Ninety-six percent of land birds feed insects to their babies, who need the protein to grow. A nest of chickadees requires 570 caterpillars per day, which is 9000 caterpillars per nest. Common yard plants like Crotons and Philodendron do not provide food to insects, and 80% of the suburban landscape is sterile with these types of non-native plants. In contrast oaks support 557 species of caterpillars. Some common native plants for Florida are Live Oaks, Beauty Berry, Cedar, Pine, Magnolia, Spiderwort, purple Passion flower (Passiflora incarnata) vine, Pine, Beach Dune Flower, Blanket Flower, and even common Ragweed. In a before an after “yard makeover” one household found that by increasing the number of native plant species in their yard from 2 to 60, the variety of birds species increased from only 4 to 18. A good goal for a yard or a lot is 70% native species of plants. 

It's very simple to remember this way: 
No natives, no insects 
No insects, no birds 

To find out recommended natives species of plants for your area visit: and enter your zip code.

1 comment:

Kishore said...
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